Clinton, Sanders prepare for debate in Flint

Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-06 14:43:33-05

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The economy is taking center stage on Sunday when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate one another in Flint — a city already in tough shape long before residents learned their drinking water was tainted with lead.

The Democratic candidates are facing off just two days before Michigan’s presidential primary.

They’re eager to highlight their differences on economic policy: Clinton claims only she has a “credible strategy” for raising wages, while Sanders is hammering at her pas support for trade deals that he says had “disastrous” consequences for American workers.

Before the big debate, Clinton spent Sunday morning visiting African-American churches in Detroit, promising to “make America whole.”

While she did not directly name Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Clinton alluded to his catchphrase to “make America great again.”

Speaking at the Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church, Clinton says: “America never stopped being great. We have to work to make America whole.” It was one of three church visits she made Sunday to encourage voters to cast ballots in the state’s upcoming primary on Tuesday.

Clinton said she had asked for Sunday night’s debate to be held in Flint.

Clinton says in regard to the lead-infested water in the city: “We want to continue to shine a bright spotlight on what happened in that community.”

Taking a swipe at Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s administration, Clinton said: “Your state government wanted to save money more than they wanted to help keep young kids’ lives whole.”

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has continued to call for Governor Snyder’s resignation amid the Flint water crisis.

While the delegate numbers are stacked against Sanders, he isn’t lacking for confidence in the Democratic presidential race.

Sanders is  coming off victories Saturday in Kansas and Nebraska and looking for more in the coming weeks.

He tells ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that “geographically, we are looking good” and that he sees “a path toward victory.”

However, the delegate totals tell a different story.

When you include superdelegates, those party insiders who can choose any candidate, Hillary Clinton now has a least 1,121 delegates, compared with at least 481 for Sanders. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

Sanders says: “We’re still fairly early in the process.”

Sanders and Clinton will take to the stage tonight for the debate hosted by CNN at 8 p.m.